Our doors are temporarily closed to people coming to the office: all client appointments will be held via telephone or video conference (Facetime, Skype, etc.) until further notice.
From the desk of Thomas W. Herman, Partner Attorney at the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson:
As we are all aware, the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses a serious health threat.
One of the things that makes our community, and our country, great is that when faced with a crisis we pull together, regardless of race religion or political affiliation.
Now is one of those times!
The combination of the flu and COVID-19 poses a serious health risk to many of our friends, family and neighbors. It’s important we focus on taking care of ourselves, our loved one and our neighbors. As an experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm, we recognize the need to be proactive in taking steps to ensure the health and safety of all of us who are associated with the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson.
While there is no need to panic, we need to be smart and use common sense to avoid unnecessary risk to us and those we love.
As a part of that, our firm has developed a C-19 response plan that we’ve implemented in order to avoid putting our employees or any of our clients at risk.
Westmoreland Law’s emergency response plan to the COVID-19 outbreak
The immediate health risk for workers not in the healthcare field to contract COVID-19 is currently considered low. However, due to the fact that the severity of illness and/or number of people who will fall ill from this virus is unknown at this time, Westmoreland Law is taking proactive steps to respond to the potential threat in a thoughtful way in order to:
- Avoid potential transmission among fellow employees,
- Protect those of us who may be at higher risk for adverse health consequences,
- Maintain business operations, and
- Minimize risks to others not associated with our law firm.
Therefore, beginning immediately our law firm is instituting the following steps:
- All client appointments will be held via telephone or video conference (Facetime, Skype, etc.) unless approved by a partner.
- All firm staff will clean their workstation daily by wiping down their phone, keyboard, mouse, etc.
- All staff will follow CDC guidelines for hygiene by cleaning hands often with either hand sanitizer or wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
- We will not allow outside food deliveries.
- Our staff is instructed to stay in their office to the most extent possible.
- We will eat meals at our desks, rather than gathering in the breakroom.
- We will limit group meetings/activities while in the office.
- Our staff is highly encouraged to stay home if they, a family member or someone they regularly come into contact with is sick, until authorized to return by the partners. Our employees will not be penalized if they have to stay out of work due to themselves or a family member becoming ill.
- If one of our staff develops respiratory symptoms while at work (i.e. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, etc.), they are encouraged to go home immediately. All employees are instructed to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder, if there’s no tissue available).
- If an employee or any of their family members is diagnosed with COVID-19, they are instructed to notify a supervising partner as soon as possible. The firm will maintain confidentiality as required by the ADA, but this will allow those who have potentially been exposed to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure per CDC guidelines.
For those clients who must come to the office to see one of our attorneys, we are pre-screening them to ensure the health and safety of all involved. Specifically, we are asking whether or not they have any 1 of the 5 criteria healthcare providers are utilizing to determine if someone should be tested for the virus.
Those 5 criteria are:
- Cough, usually dry
- Fever above 100.5 degrees
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue and body ache
- Been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with the C-19 virus, or who is self-quarantining due to potential exposure
If you answer “yes” to any of these 5 criteria, then we are advising that we cannot meet with you in person.
If you answer “no” to all 5 of the criteria, then we will work to limit your access to only the waiting room and one of our conference rooms. We have hand sanitizer available for clients to use before they come back into the office to be seen in one of our conference rooms, and then we wipe down the conference room with a disinfectant wipe after the meeting is concluded in an effort to eliminate any potential germs.
This too shall pass! But in the meantime, wash your hands, try not to touch your face and use common sense.
We also recommend visiting the following resources for more information:
- Georgia Department of Public Health’s official COVID-19 resource page
- Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center
Thomas W. Herman